The Student Room Group

PPE or law ?? v. lost

hey !! to give context i take english literature, philosophy and maths alevel and current working at an A*AA level (from our end of term exams) and im in year 12, although our mocks are coming up this may,

i'm a very indecisive person and ive been debating between law or ppe since, to be honest, year 11.

I have such a strong interest w/ PPE, it seems to be such a deserving degree to take and includes two things im v. interested in: politics and philosophy. Although, I have no prior economics knowledge, im debating on whether to take a MOOC on it just to give me some basis of it- this si where my problems arise as I'm unsure if taking a MOOC in such would be a waste of time if I were to instead change my mind and apply for law.

However, i'm also very invested in law, attending my school's law academy and have some work experience in such, and I see much clearer job prospects as I feel my end result that I want to strive to be is to be a solicitor. I understand I can take a law conversion if I was to take PPE but, i feel like a law degree holds so much weight and is much more straightforward.

Furthermore, I'm aiming towards higher ranked unis (hopefully!! althought I havent made my decision yet, perhaps oxbridge??), and from my understandiing you have to take the LNAT for law and if applying to PPE at Oxford its the TSA - i would like to start studying for these soon, but i need to make my decision soon.

I was also looking into the politics, philosophy law LLB degree at KCL which sounds interesting and sort of incorporates all my interests in one, but this is just one uni and would take 4yrs to complete.

Last point is that, a law degree anywhere holds its weight and gives me a clear career path whereas PPE (although enjoying the course content) would hold less so if taken at less higher ranking unis
I feel as if my school is giving me no hope, everytime I've reached our they simply say that I should know by now if I'm aiming for higher ranking unis, rather than actually providing guidance and it stresses me out lol !

Thank you for listening to my yap fest and if you can please give me some sort of advice ?? I'm so lost and stressed I really want to narrow down my interest, it feels as if my indecisiveness always leads me into poor decisions and I just want to be certain.
I studied Modern History at Oxford. I then studied law in London, and became a barrister. My advice to all students approaching university is to study a rigorous academic subject which you have good reason to think that you will enjoy. Studying a subject in which you are interested tends to produce better results.

I suggest that you should not think of a degree simply in terms of what career paths it may open, unless you are looking at a career in medicine (and related professions), engineering, architecture, the technical aspects of IT, or an academic career in any subject. I suggest that university should be about much more than what job you get afterwards, and studying any rigorous subject in depth for three or four years is a worthwhile thing to do. University should also be fun - a time to make lifelong friendships, discover new interests, and grow as a person.

About half of the practising lawyers in the UK have a law degree, and the other half have degrees in all sorts of subjects, with PPE, history, and classics being well represented but sciences and modern languages too.

Law is a subject worthy of study in its own right, regardless of career aspirations. But so too is PPE.

Obtaining a law degree is the correct choice if you might later consider becoming a legal academic. Also, possession of a degree in law is relevant to qualification to practise law in some jurisdictions outside the UK. For example, I can take the California Bar Exam, but not the New York Bar Exam. I add that I am an international commercial litigator with experience in numerous jurisdictions, and not having a law degree has not adversely affected my career.

If your school is not being helpful, you may find the websites and programs run by leading universities of assistance. The top universities run outreach schemes to demystify their application processes, and to encourage talented students from all backgrounds to apply. There are also useful threads here, for example the one curated by @Oxford Mum which explains Oxford for those unfamiliar with the university.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6100480

TL/DR? Choose the subject that you love and are likely to excel at. Good luck!
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by miameni
hey !! to give context i take english literature, philosophy and maths alevel and current working at an A*AA level (from our end of term exams) and im in year 12, although our mocks are coming up this may,
i'm a very indecisive person and ive been debating between law or ppe since, to be honest, year 11.
I have such a strong interest w/ PPE, it seems to be such a deserving degree to take and includes two things im v. interested in: politics and philosophy. Although, I have no prior economics knowledge, im debating on whether to take a MOOC on it just to give me some basis of it- this si where my problems arise as I'm unsure if taking a MOOC in such would be a waste of time if I were to instead change my mind and apply for law.
However, i'm also very invested in law, attending my school's law academy and have some work experience in such, and I see much clearer job prospects as I feel my end result that I want to strive to be is to be a solicitor. I understand I can take a law conversion if I was to take PPE but, i feel like a law degree holds so much weight and is much more straightforward.
Furthermore, I'm aiming towards higher ranked unis (hopefully!! althought I havent made my decision yet, perhaps oxbridge??), and from my understandiing you have to take the LNAT for law and if applying to PPE at Oxford its the TSA - i would like to start studying for these soon, but i need to make my decision soon.
I was also looking into the politics, philosophy law LLB degree at KCL which sounds interesting and sort of incorporates all my interests in one, but this is just one uni and would take 4yrs to complete.
Last point is that, a law degree anywhere holds its weight and gives me a clear career path whereas PPE (although enjoying the course content) would hold less so if taken at less higher ranking unis
I feel as if my school is giving me no hope, everytime I've reached our they simply say that I should know by now if I'm aiming for higher ranking unis, rather than actually providing guidance and it stresses me out lol !
Thank you for listening to my yap fest and if you can please give me some sort of advice ?? I'm so lost and stressed I really want to narrow down my interest, it feels as if my indecisiveness always leads me into poor decisions and I just want to be certain.

As a fellow Year 12 who debated between law and another subject (psychology), here's how I made my decision to study law:

1.

Researching universities and modules in both degrees

A Law LLB course is very different to most other degrees, as it is set up to prepare you to be a lawyer. There are modules that are about legal skills and drafting legal documents and they are mandatory. A PPE course is a tripartite degree, so again, it's structured very differently to most degrees as you'll have to learn things from three different subjects. While there is some overlap, a lot of people describe it as taking A levels all over again, in the sense that the areas at first can seem drastically different. I do both philosophy and politics at A level, and while they have some overlap (political philosophy), for the most part they are very separate areas of knowledge. Even if you aren't entirely sure about what universities you want to apply to, I would definitely look at the top ones in both subjects to see how the courses are structured. Since you are aiming high, I'm assuming that means mostly Russell Groups or top 10 non-Russell Groups. I would suggest checking out UCL, LSE and Oxford's PPE course and comparing that with their law courses. I would say law courses are more flexible than most; since they are qualifying degrees, they don't typically require you to do a dissertation and have a very large range of modules in second and third year. PPE is also quite flexible in the sense that you're going to get optional modules from three different academic areas.

1.

Entry Requirements

While your current grades look amazing, it's still good to be checking entry requirements. If you're looking at Oxbridge, they require aptitude tests in most subjects, and for law this would be the LNAT. The LNAT is not easy, and I believe they look for scores generally above 30, and strong performance in the essay portion. There are a few other universities that require the LNAT, but the vast majority don't. I'm not sure about PPE, but I'm assuming that the aptitude tests used at Oxbridge aren't ones used nationwide. You should be looking at GCSEs and A level requirements for both. Year 13 gets hard, so I would advise only picking universities with entry requirements you feel confident in achieving the grades for by the end of next year. If you're eligible for contextual offers, this is also something you should keep in mind.

1.

Career Opportunities

For me, the biggest contributor to my decision to not study psychology and instead study law was the career options. I previously had wanted to become a clinical psychologist, which typically takes people 9-12 years to achieve after finishing A levels and the pay that I would be getting was about £50,000 - £85,000 working in the NHS. While that is an amazing salary, for the amount of work and hours I would have been doing as well as all the debt I'd have from having to go through further training and university, it didn't feel worth it. The only progression would have been becoming a clinical co-ordinator, but this takes decades of experience. I know that money isn't everything and many lawyers don't make that much money, for the area of law I'm interested in (commercial law), I would likely be making more money than average. There's a faster progression and more opportunities to go into different careers. After talking to people who work in a law firm, there's definitely a multitude of options, even if you don't end up wanting to be a lawyer. I met someone who was working in legal technology and did an LLB only to realise he didn't want to be a solicitor. With PPE, there are definitely a lot of routes, and that's just due to it being a tripartite degree. You could go into political journalism, policy advising or become a politician if you're interest in the politics side. For the economics side of PPE, you could 100% do some further qualifications or complete an apprenticeship to go into banking, finance or economy analysing positions. If you end up liking the philosophical aspect, you could go into research, academia or philosophical literature.

I think most you should really consider which degree you would enjoy studying more, rather than the career path at first. If you do an LLB and change your mind, you can always do some further training and go into PPE related careers. With your current A levels, securing some sort of apprenticeship wouldn't be hard at all, provided you get good grades in them and for your degree. With PPE, as you mentioned, you could always do a conversion degree. I know a few people who have done conversion degrees and it was all down to them wanting to study a subject they enjoy more at undergraduate level and focus on their career later. Your time at university will help you navigate what you want to do career-wise anyway, so I wouldn't worry about this too much. Law firms do not care whether you've done an LLB or a conversion degree I promise you! So many people end up applying to study law out of fear firms will reject them based on their degree, but studying law at undergraduate level doesn't prepare you to be a lawyer as much as you'd think. Sure, they touch on key skills, but that knowledge can be gained by attending networking events, careers days and doing your own research. A Law LLB mainly teaches the theory of law. Your SQE will teach you how to apply all of this theory, if you want to be a solicitor. If you're still undecided, I'd really recommend attending open days and going to both subject talks. This is how you'll get a feel for whether the subject is for you.

Wishing you the best of luck in your decision!
Not every law degree includes skills such as drafting documents. At Oxford, for example, the course content is academic. Nowadays, many if not most full time legal academics are not practising lawyers.

The postgraduate professional examination courses teach procedures and skills, but solicitors and barristers really learn how to practise law during their training contracts and pupillages.
Reply 4
Original post by Stiffy Byng
Not every law degree includes skills such as drafting documents. At Oxford, for example, the course content is academic. Nowadays, many if not most full time legal academics are not practising lawyers.
The postgraduate professional examination courses teach procedures and skills, but solicitors and barristers really learn how to practise law during their training contracts and pupillages.

I was just referencing some modules that I've seen in other Russell Group university courses (e.g. KCL, Birmingham). I understand that the majority of skills are built up through the SQE, TCs or postgraduate education. Oxford do work a bit different to most universities though, so that's important to note.
Original post by miameni
hey !! to give context i take english literature, philosophy and maths alevel and current working at an A*AA level (from our end of term exams) and im in year 12, although our mocks are coming up this may,
i'm a very indecisive person and ive been debating between law or ppe since, to be honest, year 11.
I have such a strong interest w/ PPE, it seems to be such a deserving degree to take and includes two things im v. interested in: politics and philosophy. Although, I have no prior economics knowledge, im debating on whether to take a MOOC on it just to give me some basis of it- this si where my problems arise as I'm unsure if taking a MOOC in such would be a waste of time if I were to instead change my mind and apply for law.
However, i'm also very invested in law, attending my school's law academy and have some work experience in such, and I see much clearer job prospects as I feel my end result that I want to strive to be is to be a solicitor. I understand I can take a law conversion if I was to take PPE but, i feel like a law degree holds so much weight and is much more straightforward.
Furthermore, I'm aiming towards higher ranked unis (hopefully!! althought I havent made my decision yet, perhaps oxbridge??), and from my understandiing you have to take the LNAT for law and if applying to PPE at Oxford its the TSA - i would like to start studying for these soon, but i need to make my decision soon.
I was also looking into the politics, philosophy law LLB degree at KCL which sounds interesting and sort of incorporates all my interests in one, but this is just one uni and would take 4yrs to complete.
Last point is that, a law degree anywhere holds its weight and gives me a clear career path whereas PPE (although enjoying the course content) would hold less so if taken at less higher ranking unis
I feel as if my school is giving me no hope, everytime I've reached our they simply say that I should know by now if I'm aiming for higher ranking unis, rather than actually providing guidance and it stresses me out lol !
Thank you for listening to my yap fest and if you can please give me some sort of advice ?? I'm so lost and stressed I really want to narrow down my interest, it feels as if my indecisiveness always leads me into poor decisions and I just want to be certain.


I was exactly in the same boat as you now a year ago and I was debating between PPE or law. I do maths econ and art and was predicted A*AA. I was so stressed in the summer of yr 12 as I could not figure out what I wanted to do and felt so lost. I decided on my course like two weeks before yr 13 so it’s good that your reaching out for help now. I also do not know what career I want in the future so was just so stuck in picking.

I ended up doing PPE as based off the course modules I enjoyed the look of it more in comparison to law. Also the fact that a law conversion course is an option added to my decision as it gives me more time to consider. I applied to Oxford and got rejected post interview so if u do go for PPE and need help or advice lmk. One thing I’d say is imagine yourself in uni rn and think which one u would be more excited to study. If I can help in any other way lmk
Reply 6
Original post by Stiffy Byng
I studied Modern History at Oxford. I then studied law in London, and became a barrister. My advice to all students approaching university is to study a rigorous academic subject which you have good reason to think that you will enjoy. Studying a subject in which you are interested tends to produce better results.
I suggest that you should not think of a degree simply in terms of what career paths it may open, unless you are looking at a career in medicine (and related professions), engineering, architecture, the technical aspects of IT, or an academic career in any subject. I suggest that university should be about much more than what job you get afterwards, and studying any rigorous subject in depth for three or four years is a worthwhile thing to do. University should also be fun - a time to make lifelong friendships, discover new interests, and grow as a person.
About half of the practising lawyers in the UK have a law degree, and the other half have degrees in all sorts of subjects, with PPE, history, and classics being well represented but sciences and modern languages too.
Law is a subject worthy of study in its own right, regardless of career aspirations. But so too is PPE.
Obtaining a law degree is the correct choice if you might later consider becoming a legal academic. Also, possession of a degree in law is relevant to qualification to practise law in some jurisdictions outside the UK. For example, I can take the California Bar Exam, but not the New York Bar Exam. I add that I am an international commercial litigator with experience in numerous jurisdictions, and not having a law degree has not adversely affected my career.
If your school is not being helpful, you may find the websites and programs run by leading universities of assistance. The top universities run outreach schemes to demystify their application processes, and to encourage talented students from all backgrounds to apply. There are also useful threads here, for example the one curated by @Oxford Mum which explains Oxford for those unfamiliar with the university.
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6100480
TL/DR? Choose the subject that you love and are likely to excel at. Good luck!

thank you so much for all the help! ofc still debating but ill definitely look into the different courses that both law and ppe offer. This rlly opened my eyes knowing that both degrees hold a lot of weight and I think I need to browse different unis, see what courses they offer and then run a pros and cons for each one.
Reply 7
Original post by bibachu
As a fellow Year 12 who debated between law and another subject (psychology), here's how I made my decision to study law:

1.

Researching universities and modules in both degrees

A Law LLB course is very different to most other degrees, as it is set up to prepare you to be a lawyer. There are modules that are about legal skills and drafting legal documents and they are mandatory. A PPE course is a tripartite degree, so again, it's structured very differently to most degrees as you'll have to learn things from three different subjects. While there is some overlap, a lot of people describe it as taking A levels all over again, in the sense that the areas at first can seem drastically different. I do both philosophy and politics at A level, and while they have some overlap (political philosophy), for the most part they are very separate areas of knowledge. Even if you aren't entirely sure about what universities you want to apply to, I would definitely look at the top ones in both subjects to see how the courses are structured. Since you are aiming high, I'm assuming that means mostly Russell Groups or top 10 non-Russell Groups. I would suggest checking out UCL, LSE and Oxford's PPE course and comparing that with their law courses. I would say law courses are more flexible than most; since they are qualifying degrees, they don't typically require you to do a dissertation and have a very large range of modules in second and third year. PPE is also quite flexible in the sense that you're going to get optional modules from three different academic areas.

1.

Entry Requirements

While your current grades look amazing, it's still good to be checking entry requirements. If you're looking at Oxbridge, they require aptitude tests in most subjects, and for law this would be the LNAT. The LNAT is not easy, and I believe they look for scores generally above 30, and strong performance in the essay portion. There are a few other universities that require the LNAT, but the vast majority don't. I'm not sure about PPE, but I'm assuming that the aptitude tests used at Oxbridge aren't ones used nationwide. You should be looking at GCSEs and A level requirements for both. Year 13 gets hard, so I would advise only picking universities with entry requirements you feel confident in achieving the grades for by the end of next year. If you're eligible for contextual offers, this is also something you should keep in mind.

1.

Career Opportunities

For me, the biggest contributor to my decision to not study psychology and instead study law was the career options. I previously had wanted to become a clinical psychologist, which typically takes people 9-12 years to achieve after finishing A levels and the pay that I would be getting was about £50,000 - £85,000 working in the NHS. While that is an amazing salary, for the amount of work and hours I would have been doing as well as all the debt I'd have from having to go through further training and university, it didn't feel worth it. The only progression would have been becoming a clinical co-ordinator, but this takes decades of experience. I know that money isn't everything and many lawyers don't make that much money, for the area of law I'm interested in (commercial law), I would likely be making more money than average. There's a faster progression and more opportunities to go into different careers. After talking to people who work in a law firm, there's definitely a multitude of options, even if you don't end up wanting to be a lawyer. I met someone who was working in legal technology and did an LLB only to realise he didn't want to be a solicitor. With PPE, there are definitely a lot of routes, and that's just due to it being a tripartite degree. You could go into political journalism, policy advising or become a politician if you're interest in the politics side. For the economics side of PPE, you could 100% do some further qualifications or complete an apprenticeship to go into banking, finance or economy analysing positions. If you end up liking the philosophical aspect, you could go into research, academia or philosophical literature.
I think most you should really consider which degree you would enjoy studying more, rather than the career path at first. If you do an LLB and change your mind, you can always do some further training and go into PPE related careers. With your current A levels, securing some sort of apprenticeship wouldn't be hard at all, provided you get good grades in them and for your degree. With PPE, as you mentioned, you could always do a conversion degree. I know a few people who have done conversion degrees and it was all down to them wanting to study a subject they enjoy more at undergraduate level and focus on their career later. Your time at university will help you navigate what you want to do career-wise anyway, so I wouldn't worry about this too much. Law firms do not care whether you've done an LLB or a conversion degree I promise you! So many people end up applying to study law out of fear firms will reject them based on their degree, but studying law at undergraduate level doesn't prepare you to be a lawyer as much as you'd think. Sure, they touch on key skills, but that knowledge can be gained by attending networking events, careers days and doing your own research. A Law LLB mainly teaches the theory of law. Your SQE will teach you how to apply all of this theory, if you want to be a solicitor. If you're still undecided, I'd really recommend attending open days and going to both subject talks. This is how you'll get a feel for whether the subject is for you.
Wishing you the best of luck in your decision!

Thank you so much for all this info ! It was all massively helpful for a breakdown on whether differing factors between the two degrees. I have looked into the courses that diff unis offer and I am aware of the LNAT😓 it feels as if I will enjoy PPE since at some angles a law degree seems v dry in what they offer. good luck w ur journey as well !!
Reply 8
Original post by Dhdhehuxhc
I was exactly in the same boat as you now a year ago and I was debating between PPE or law. I do maths econ and art and was predicted A*AA. I was so stressed in the summer of yr 12 as I could not figure out what I wanted to do and felt so lost. I decided on my course like two weeks before yr 13 so it’s good that your reaching out for help now. I also do not know what career I want in the future so was just so stuck in picking.
I ended up doing PPE as based off the course modules I enjoyed the look of it more in comparison to law. Also the fact that a law conversion course is an option added to my decision as it gives me more time to consider. I applied to Oxford and got rejected post interview so if u do go for PPE and need help or advice lmk. One thing I’d say is imagine yourself in uni rn and think which one u would be more excited to study. If I can help in any other way lmk

omg it’s so nice to see someone else that was in the same boat as me ! I thought it was such a niche problem that I was over complicating. What do you think you will do after PPE? And what uni do u go run currently? (if you don’t mind me asking)
Original post by miameni
omg it’s so nice to see someone else that was in the same boat as me ! I thought it was such a niche problem that I was over complicating. What do you think you will do after PPE? And what uni do u go run currently? (if you don’t mind me asking)


Same when I read your post I was shocked in a way because I thought it was also such a niche problem. I am currently in yr 13 and received decisions from all my applications. I will probably firm Warwick - after
PPE I’m not currently sure but I am open to doing a law conversion course. If you need any help let me know even if it is to vent. you can dm me I’m more than happy to help!!
Reply 10
Original post by Dhdhehuxhc
Same when I read your post I was shocked in a way because I thought it was also such a niche problem. I am currently in yr 13 and received decisions from all my applications. I will probably firm Warwick - after
PPE I’m not currently sure but I am open to doing a law conversion course. If you need any help let me know even if it is to vent. you can dm me I’m more than happy to help!!

aww thank you ! good luck w everything, PPE at Warwick is a dream that’s amazing. !! I just need to get through my May mocks and I think from there I can fully start focusing. tysm for the help !!

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